Leadership

Has Microsoft lost its collective mind or is it really a party?

Microsoft has launched a marketing campaign extolling the benefits of the Windows 7 that mimics the infomercials of late night television fame.

Head Blogs Editor Toni Bowers sent a link to the editorial staff here at TechRepublic today that made everyone cringe. Apparently Microsoft has launched a marketing campaign extolling the benefits of the soon-to-be-released Windows 7 that mimics the cheesy infomercials of late-night television fame. My initial response was, "What are they thinking?"

Now, two points of order here: (1) I like Windows 7, and I think it will sell well and make Microsoft tons of money. I have no doubt it will be my operating system of choice. (2) I am a very skeptical person (some would say cynical), and I just cannot believe this infomercial/launch party idea is good marketing. Heck, I cannot believe it even made it past the whiteboard from what must have been one lame brainstorming session.

Let's party

But then I started to look closer at all the various videos that are available in this infomercial/party theme. And it occurred to me that the novice user, like my aunt who has been trying to decide whether to get a computer for years now, would actually benefit from these videos/parties because they are so nonconfrontational. The videos make everything seem so easy. I mean, look at these happy people, having a party, enjoying a new operating system -- life is good and all is well with the world.

Then it hit me -- my aunt and anyone else in the novice category will never attend one of these things, and therefore they are a waste of effort. Furthermore, for a skeptical (some say cynical) technical geek like me, the videos are downright painful.

Here, in all its glory, is the introductory video. Note that there are quite a few more on the YouTube Channel:

Poll

So let's put this to a vote. I have made my feelings obvious, how about yours. And, please expound on what you think of the videos, the launch party idea, and the whole marketing concept all together in the forum -- am I wrong about this?

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

189 comments
jjvolk
jjvolk

Hey. I applied and was accepted to host a House Party. I get a FREE copy of MS Windows 7 Signature Edition for free - nuff said!

madcowbrewing
madcowbrewing

I couldn't finish the video, got sick of the rough camera movements designed to make it look like a home video. So I closed my eyes and tried to listen, it didn't work either. Needs some serious punch, my vote is for huge overpowering graphic and over-exciting music, that way I can completely lose interest and change the channel as soon as I recognize the familiar marketing scheme.....

parnote
parnote

Instead of hosting a Windows 7 party, host a LINUX party, where you show all these clueless Windows users what they are missing out on. Be sure to extol the virtues of Linux ... it's much easier to use these days, it's FREE (not $200 - $300 like Windows 7), it's more secure, it's virus free, and most of the apps are also FREE.

wlo103
wlo103

I majored in business administration/marketing. This is the worst ad I've ever seen!! The Apple ads leave Microsoft in the dust. They need a new advertising firm....

reisen55
reisen55

Nope and we have people swooning over another new operating system LIKE IT IS A PRODUCTION VERSION and like people really DO THAT. As an information tech professional, all it is going to do is add more misery to my work load with something new to learn and something probably full of holes as is every single first new release. HEY, IT AIN'T OUT THERE YET AND RELEASE CANDIDATE 1 DOES NOT QUALIFY AS A PRODUCTION PRODUCT.

areinike
areinike

They don't need to try hard ... a PC is a PC ...

mcmlxxiixxv
mcmlxxiixxv

You left out the voting option "This is the lamest, piece of crap idea I've ever seen".

chaynes33
chaynes33

What a piece of crap. It just plain looks stupid.

bus66vw
bus66vw

Does anybody know when Windows 8 is to be released. This act of desperation seems to indicate that Windows 7 is just as defective as Vista. Don't get me wrong I, I use Vista and once Windows 7 is out I will get at it. Just not sure why MS feels the need for this "act of desperation".

th1b.taylor
th1b.taylor

Since Mr Gates has turned loose of the helm MS is loosing it's image fast. This campaign is just another example.

ActionIT
ActionIT

I have watched the marketing campaign for Windows 7 and I have found that it is for children, everything is magic and it always turns out right regardless of what you do and the launch party videos make me reach for my pants pockets to check who else's hand is in there... What BS.......

Colinza
Colinza

I guess this campaign is saying "Hey, this Windows 7 is so easy, even an adult can use it!" Mark, one thing you said: "THE VIDEOS MAKE EVERYTHING SEEM SO EASY" That is the key, marketing is not about reality and it's mostly not even about the truth. It's about creating a perception of a better life. One you can only have if you 'buy this product'! Let's face it - you can't let reality stand in the way of a good marketing technique. Maybe I'm cynical too! Still, I'm looking forward to Windows 7 as well. This ad campaign is cheesy, let's hope the product is solid.

PeterM42
PeterM42

Having trialled Windows 7 (or is that Vista SPn? - difficult to tell), I think Microsoft HAVE lost their collective mind. Windows 7 has some MAJOR disasters in it (just look at the Win7 forums!!) and will take a VERY LONG TIME to be accepted by corporate users.

wayne
wayne

I use MS products, but I have never been someone who would camp out overnight at a store front for some grand opening. I like Windows 7 as the author of this article does, but throwing a party in it's honor and glory? I don't think so. There may be people out there who do, and God love them. They keep our shop owners happy. And I'm a geek who likes the Star Wars movies, but I don't dress up like Luke Skywalker and go to conventions. ;)

jboater
jboater

I can't get past the constant jumping about of the video camera. Similar to and worse than, the camerea work on Dancing With the Stars & So You Think You Can Dance. Zero stars out of Five is my rating.

damien.rouaud
damien.rouaud

In other words, "share the excitment of a Tupperware party" but at the end of the day, it is all about Buzz and we are contributing to it ...

lynchd
lynchd

reminds me of the united colours of benetton adverts in the 80s'. everyone said they were terrible but it did them no commercial harm and got everyone talking about them. even my gran who was 80 at the time. just look at how many people are commenting on this and do a rough calcualtion on how much that kind of marketing and coverage normally costs.

JLVFR
JLVFR

First thing came to my mind was "this is a joke, it's not for real"... I think the most I can say (without having my post censored and getting a "sharp" mail from the admins ;) ) is to copy-paste my vote (modified): *It is a cringe inducing insult to everyone's intelligence*

nibby059
nibby059

Microsoft has lost the plot most definately!

rooikat
rooikat

Sorry, but the first thing that comes to mind is WTF!? Are we the end users, seen as a bunch of brain dead retards!? Microsoft launch Parties!? Like we have no lives...

sms2
sms2

Come back Bill, all is forgiven. :-)

rblake
rblake

But wait! Call in the next 20 minutes and we'll send the pudgy "I'm a PC" guy to YOUR party. Just pay separate shipping.

ErickTa
ErickTa

I would rather lie in a fire ant pile than attend such a party. On the other hand, I am considering having a Windows 7 launch party out of sheer cynicism and irony.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

but is this possibly a satirical response to the 'install parties' hosted by many regional Linux users groups?

onlinejimk
onlinejimk

Will there at least be copious amounts of Alcohol available at the party?

bclomptwihm
bclomptwihm

Looks like the Anti-Capitalist Microsoft haters are out in force...

isapp
isapp

The ad that I really hate is the one with the five-year-old child telling me how wonderful Windows 7 is. I'm 58 years old and have been in IT for 20 years. I resent Microsoft's assuming that a kindergartener can advise me on what software to use. They're absolutey clueless!

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...is if during the party, they used Windows 7 to conduct a seance, and channeled Billy Mays to pitch the OS. "Even someone that is literally brain dead knows this is a great OS!!" Bad dialog---check Awkward social setting---check Token ethnicity---check Those "actors" should be kicked out of SAG and/or AEA. I never thought I'd see something worse than the SyFy Saturday Poop Du Jour. Unfortunately, I was wrong! Calling this bad would be kind.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

you devoted an entire article about it. Job done I would say!

sgo7
sgo7

You are right. It was painfull. I found myself watching the laptop disappear and reappear from the scene and wondering if someone was going to spill the beans on the keyboard. What was the message again..?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Okay, I understand getting the free copy of Windows 7, but did you actually give a party? I just think the idea of having a party to show off Windows 7 or Linux or Mac OS X or any operating system sounds worse than a root canal.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

What complete MORON is going to give away something for free via a half million dollar infomercial, THEN pay for the placement and rotation? for what? Market share of a free OS? Your lovely Linux penguin would cost more than a silk tuxuedo in no time.

Darren B - KC
Darren B - KC

The final release has been available to TechNet subscribers for a number of weeks now. I've been using Win 7 Ultimate for about a month and except for a few minor quirks, I like Windows 7 better than XP and it's MUCH better than Vista.

plandok
plandok

Are you worried about your "reputation"? Or don't want to admit you like those kind of maybe "juvenile" movies? Hey, you are a "real" person and you buy cars which others wouldn't. Maybe you play games which could be embarrasing to admit to playing. So why not have some fun by dressing up. Halloween is coming and the kids would love a biggie in a Vader suite (or a white tae kwon do jacket) although you'd have to put on some makeup to look younger.

thomas
thomas

I thought it was for the "Ballmer bobble head" not the "pudgy PC guy"

TNT
TNT

I've decided to have a cross-over party, featuring Windows 7 and Sham-Wow. What cleans windows, countertops, cars, boats, and most everything else better than Sham-Wow? And what OS is better at... Wait a minute. Maybe I didn't think this through...

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I use MS on a daily basis and have nothing against them or any other software company charging what they think the traffic will bear. But at best this is a bad advertisement; at worst it's a marketing approach abandoned by almost every other retailer long ago.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

I don't think being an enemy of all things Redmond is a pre-requisite to thinking that commercial was terrible. I believe even the actors in the commercial would tell you that it sucked. It is up there with this one; which at least has the virtue of being unintentionally hilarious! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQ79pCJBcJ8 On a more serious note, had MSFT wanted to do a Windows 7 commercial based on a party, a LAN gaming party would have been the way to go. IT may not have appealed to everyone, but at least it would have appealed to some...which is a far spot better than this tripe.

reisen55
reisen55

In the general public? And I also guarantee you that a month is NOTHING in terms of technical testing if you are serious about a client's network. Personally, Release Candidate 1 was an improvement over Vista save for detonating a 500gb partition when I re-imaged back to Windows XP. I have a redundant backup design on my home network by the way. And in these economic times, I know many thousands of companies are going to look at IT budgets to convert from XP or even 2000 to Windows 7 and decides it is something they can afford to do ..... later on.

wayne
wayne

Reputation has nothing to do with it. I dress up at Halloween cause that's just for fun. I didn't mean to offend anyone who dresses up and goes to Star Trek conventions. I guess I'm just a little more conservative. I love technology and embrace it in all aspects of my life. My 'love' for technology has limits though, and I embrace it for what it can do for me to make money or make my life easier. I don't have to have the latest technology, just because it's cool or because my neighbor has it. Back to subject though, this is about Windows 7 and the release parties. I will use Windows 7, you can be sure of that. Not because it is cool, but for what it offers in functionality, (hopefully) security, and stability. But just because it is new and I will use and learn the new interfaces, etc, the people that I would invite to one of these parties just wouldn't be into the OS like that. For that matter, most 'regular' users dread a new OS. It means change and something else they have to learn. Thankfully, they aren't the driving force in technology or we would all still be using DOS 6.22 with Windows 3.1 running on it. Anyway I really like to use technology and show others how to use it. And while it may be exciting to me to discover Windows 7's new features, I don't have but a couple friends that would even be interested in it. Wouldn't be much of a party... ;)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

we'll give you TWO Windows 7 licenses for the price of one! But call now, because we can't keep this up all day! To quote one of my nieces, "As if!"

benm
benm

Microsoft has teamed up with houseparty.com to help market their launch of Windows 7. The videos were created to help people host a launch party. I'm hosting one of them and even though the videos were not that great I'm still looking forward to showing off Windows 7 to my friends and family. It's a great way to introduce it to people who don't have a clue about computers and what Windows 7 even is. I don't think these videos were intended for commercial use at all...they're just an aid for the hosts of a party that might not be sure how to demonstrate some of the features.

mjc5
mjc5

Are you going to provide support for the folks whos computer has some problem and it won't run? You want to introduce clueless people to System 7? That's really nice, but unless W7 is unlike any other product they've ever made, those clueless people are going to need a lot of help afterward. Or does your responsibility end when the last corn chip is eaten, and then they come to me and whine about how they can't connect to the internets, or whatever problem is that pops up?

RipVan
RipVan

Please, NO MORE clueless people using Windows. Having to go clean up messes constantly for these folks is enough already. And MS wants MORE of them??? Just money, I guess. And as long as OTHER PEOPLE are cleaning up the mess...

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Why in the name of Grace Hopper would you want to do this? Can't you introduce "people who don't have a clue about computers" to computing with XP? People that inexperienced aren't going to gain much from W7. Can't you use Vista? It doesn't look all that different. What makes you think the invitees aren't going to think this is just an excuse for you to rub their noses in your getting a new computer?

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...that went something like this: "If a celebrity doesn't want a sex tape to make it to the Internet, DON'T USE A FRIGGIN' CAMERA!" I think the same applies to the video. I hear you on the intent and purpose, but the video was still painfully bad. If a bad video wasn't supposed to make the rounds, it shouldn't have been shot. But, enough on that. That horse has left the barn. If it wouldn't be too much of a hassle, could you post a thread about the party after it concludes. I think that getting input on the OS from people outside the tech community (I'm assuming not everyone you're inviting is a tech pro...please correct me if that is wrong) would be valuable.